The EPSRC – the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council – is the quango which funds most research in Physics in UK universities. It was formed in 1965 as the SRC (Science Research Council) which in 1981 became SERC (Science and Engineering Research Council) and then in 1995 evolved into EPSRC. Perhaps you can spot the trend?
A colleague highlighted the above figure on the EPSRC web site (here) which summarises EPSRC’s ‘investments’ in various areas: the size of blobs represents the amount of money ‘invested’ and the colour represents whether they want to grow (green) or reduce (yellow) investment in a subject area. Most areas (blue green) are ‘under review’.
I don’t have much to say about this picture but I was just struck by its apparent randomness and worried by the use of the word ‘investment’. I think the lack of coherence is basically a good thing, indicating – I hope – that EPSRC is responding to diverse requests for funding from across the research ‘universe’. This randomness is (IMHO) essential to keeping academia alive.